Author and longtime singleton, Sara Eckel, dispels the myths about being an unmarried adult.
If you’re single and searching, you’ve probably heard a lot of explanations about why you’re alone – from “you’re being too picky” to “stop acting so desperate”. I certainly did. I was single for most of my adult life, and spent a lot of that time wondering what was wrong with me that I couldn’t find a partner. Then I met my husband and realised I never needed to fix myself – I just needed to find the right guy.
During my single years, coupled up friends and acquaintances said some pretty stupid things to me, as a way of explaining my lack of relationship. It took me a long time to figure out that all of them were completely wrong.
“You Have Low Self-Esteem”
You’d have a boyfriend, if you only liked yourself more! So you stand in front of a mirror and recite phony affirmations about how awesome you are and end up feeling… well, kind of weird. High self-esteem is treated like the cure for nearly every psychological ill, but the truth is that people who think highly of themselves are no more well-liked than those with low self-esteem – they only think they are more admired. So rather than try to convince yourself that you’re the most beautiful and special person in the world, why not just say this: “I am a flawed person who is worthy of love.” Because you are.
“You’re Too Independent”
Your parents call you a “career girl” as a way of explaining why you’re alone – because unemployment is so sexy! Many people cling to the completely outdated notion that women who like their jobs and work hard at them are at a disadvantage in the romance department. Actually, women with advanced degrees and high salaries are more likely to marry than their less ambitious peers. They’re also less likely to divorce.
“You’re Too Desperate”
You felt jealous when your baby sister said she was engaged. You were hurt when the guy you went on (what you thought were) five wonderful dates blew you off. Worse, you were embarrassed to feel these things. After all, cool girls are supposed to love their free and fabulous solo life. But guess what: no one feels happy all the time. If you feel sad or lonely sometimes, it doesn’t mean you’re pathetic – it means you’re a person.
“You’re Too Picky”
Your best friend is exasperated because you didn’t have any chemistry with the perfectly nice guy she set you up with. But you’re looking for a husband, not a couch – a little bit of choosiness is in order. If you don’t enjoy talking to him or you don’t fancy him, then saying no is the best thing you can do for both of you. We all deserve to be with someone who thinks we’re amazing. Saying no isn’t a sign of immaturity; settling for a mediocre relationship is.
“You’re Too Available”
He asked you out and you said “sure”. Then you showed up on time, complimented his tie and didn’t make a stink when the waiter messed up your drink order. To some dating experts, this is a huge mistake – the only way to get a guy to like you is to act like an ice queen. What they never explain is, what kind of guy loses interest in a woman just because she’s nice to him? And why would you want to date him?
Sara Eckel is the author of It’s Not You: 27 (Wrong) Reasons You’re Single. You can get a free bonus chapter of her book at saraeckel.com. You can also find her on Twitter @saraeckel